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Kenwood Basic M2A

Stereo Power Amplifier (1985-90)

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Kenwood Basic M2A


Power output: 220 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 1Hz to 300kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.004%

Damping factor: 1000

Input sensitivity: 1V

Signal to noise ratio: 120dB

Dimensions: 440 x 158 x 373mm

Weight: 15.5kg

Year: 1985


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Reviewed Jun 06th, 2017 by whalen

I have both the M2 AND M2A and love both of them! Both are great affordable amps with big power.

Reviewed Jul 31st, 2015 by mobay

I've had a M2A for ten years and like others here have said it is powerful, dead reliable, and attractive. Different from the M2 in that it does not have Sigma Drive ( which may be a blessing) , it is one of those amps that are still available , but whose value is very much underrated. 220 watts ( it puts out more ) and a incredible damping factor of 1000! , how can these sell for in most cases under $350 dollars, maybe less? The red LED power meters look gorgeous at night. So ...., how does it sound? Well, with a dampning factor of 1000 bass is very tight , effortless , and CONTROLLED. Mids and highs to my ears are airy and pleasant. I like the independent volume knobs . Try to spray them with electrical contact cleaner, if buying amp used and them rotate them several times ( while amp is off of course ) to preventcure any scratchiness

As with any powerful, clean amp , you might play it at levels that can damage tweeters due to lack of distortion in the sound. Always have a 3 amp fast-blow fuse on the + terminal line of the speaker you use with this amp. Very cheap, but effective protection. I once got carried away with the Telarc digital recording of the 1812 Overture that has digitally recorded howitzer cannons. When they fired, my ADS L-810s immediately cut out. Why? . because the 3 amp fuses I had wisely connected on them had blown as fast as a $20 hooker.

Kenwood really designed a unique ( some say it's a cross between a Class G and Class H ) powerful, and capable amplifier. Kenwood will never return to it's glory days , and if you can find and buy the M2A or even its brother , the M2, you will not regret it. We shall never go this way again ( the samurai mentality of quality and engineering overkill ) in terms of stereo components, where pride in workmanship and style ruled the audio hi-fi world.

This is an amp to be enjoyed and appreciated.

Reviewed Jul 23rd, 2015 by kenshiro

I have two of these amps and I will take them to the grave with me. Clean, distortion free big power has never let me down. I've purchased amps costing twice as much that were less reliable and did not perform as well as the M2A.

Reviewed May 19th, 2015 by vlavalle

This is one of the best power amps ever made, ESPECIALLY for its price. I have used this amp for over 20 years, and it has been flawless. It delivers 220 RMS w/ch at .004% distortion with both channels driven from 20-20K Hz! Considering that this is a mid 80's electronics, this is hard to beat today (2015) at just about any price. The front plate has two meters, which can be set in either the average mode, or instantaneous mode (shows peaks).

But an even more outstanding feature of this amp is its damping factor - the ability to shut down the bass speakers quickly, which makes the bass very tight, with the higher damping factor, the faster the bass speaker stops. Most amps are rated around 50, some at 100 or even 200, but this amp is rated at a damping factor of 1,000!

So, I use this amp in a bi-amp mode to drive the bass in my Legacy Focus speakers. I use Kenwood MX-1000/5000 amps to drive the highs. (And before you laugh or snicker, these were made when Kenwood made VERY good hi-fi equipment.) The MX-1000/5000 amps deliver only 130 RMS w/ch in stereo mode, but they can be bridged, which is how I use them - as mono amps in the bridge mode delivering 270 RMS w/ch at .03% distortion! These are used to drive the mids & highs on the Focus speakers.

So, the Kenwood M2A amp drives the bass in both of the Focus speakers since it is a stereo amp (and is not bridgeable). The sound is amazing, with the bass being tight, tight, tight, and the rest driven by 270 w/ch is utterly stunning.

Reviewed May 09th, 2014 by wallshaker

great amp



re: Basic M2A

I have been an owner of this fabulous amp since 1987. I had it refurbished once about 5-7 years ago. This amp is awesome, with extremely low distortion and a very high damping factor, which makes the bass sound very tight. I started using it with a pair of Dahlquist DQ-10 speakers, which are very power hungry because of their very low efficiency factor, around 87 dB. I had used a Kenwood Model 600 integrated amp (135 RMS wpc at .08% distortion) before that, and decided that the DQ-10's needed more power. The M2A made these speakers sound even more amazing because of what it did to the bass, plus the extra almost 100 wpc. But after 7 more years of the DQ-10's I then switched to the Legacy Audio Focus speakers ('94), which was the first speaker I heard that sounded better than the DQ-10's. The Focus speakers have truly bass galore, which the DQ-10's did not.

At this point thought I would bi-amp these speakers since they are so good and have the capability. So after another 2 years I did just that. The M2A (220 RMS wpc at .004% distortion) is now used for the low end of my Focus speakers which have three 12" woofers in each speaker cabinet, and the sound is amazing and everyone that comes here to hear either music or a high output movie is floored! I use 2 Kenwood KX-1000 stereo power amps, each bridged, each delivering 270 RMS on mono at .03% distortion for the mids & highs. Of course, there are more speakers and power amps in the system, but the Kenwood M2a is at the heart and always will be.

Vincent (05-26-2018)

re: Basic M2A

Where, might I ask, did you have your Kenwood M2A Basic Power Amplifier "refurbished" at?

Yes I know that you had it done several years ago but still that info would be helpful to me.

Also was it worth the price that you paid to have it refurbished? What exactly was done to it?

Was it a complete make over or just an upgrade or a few capacitors replaced, etc.?

Thanks for your time.

re: Basic M2A

I have owned this amp since I bought it brand new in 1986, It is a great amp well built and I have never had it serviced just cleaned and well taken care of. It delivers great power and sound. I have always used monster cable when attaching speakers. When using 4ohm speakers you can increase the wattage to 440 total rms, fantastic. This amp can't be matched by anything put out today. Delivers crisp clean sound with no noticeable distortion. All I can say is the is one of the best amps ever made for the price point. It is well designed and has a simple operation. Love it.

I will keep this one forever.

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